And even though we have not put up our Christmas tree yet, (yes, I know), I am full of Christmas spirit. As I am writing this note, the very talented trumpeter Chris Botti is bringing about a peaceful emotion of deep contentment to the heart with his jazzy tracks of Christmas comfort and joy. The smell of orange and cinnamon from the quietly simmering apple cider in the kitchen is filling the entire home with Christmas. A chocolate truffle is melting into a puddle of goodness in the middle of my mouth...
December so far has brought some beautiful moments in life!
It started with a doorbell ring of the mailman delivering a complimentary copy of the winter issue of Bella Grace Magazine. This volume is truly inspiring and I am happy to be a part of it again, thanks to Stampington & Company. If you haven't read it yet, I think you lost an opportunity to enrich your soul with beautiful images and thought-provoking narratives. This publication makes a wonderful holiday gift to someone who enjoys the magic of ordinary things.
I visited Irene in the nursing home. She is an ill, immobile, eighty year old woman I am glad to know by a dear friend of mine who volunteers in the institution. Irene moved to Canada from England as a young nurse; she is single and doesn't have any relatives around. I enjoy the time I spend with her. She has such a strong spirit and, of course, that typical British sense of humour that inspires me and teaches me how to gracefully meet my own life's adversities and hardships. With her polished nails in pink, bright blue eyes and infectious smile, she is an epitome of a human being who ages as a cathedral. She reminds me of my grandma who lives an ocean away...
December also held that delightful afternoon I spent at the wreath making gathering hosted by the lovely Aviva and Jessica from Sweet Gale Gardens. Both girls created a cozy atmosphere in Aviva's house where under the tunes of A Charlie Brown Christmas, together with fellow local flower lovers, I crafted a dried flower wreath that adorns the living room. Sweet Gale Gardens is a small, urban farm in the heart of Toronto focused on sustainably grown cut flowers.
Then came the snow - new, soft, and clean- it coveted the city for one night. The delicate beauty of a fresh untouched snow brings back a little bit of the magic we all felt as children. Sometimes such snowfall is all you need to get into the holiday spirit, it gets your bones excited about everything the season brings: like the last sequential date for this century... which happened to be my birthday. I was blessed with one truly special day-from the amazing gingerbread heart cookies my 3-year-old nephew decorated especially for me, through the cakes my sister and my mom made to celebrate the occasion, the thoughtful gift my son chose for me, "The Signature of All Things" by Elizabeth Gilbert to the unforgetable dinner with friends at one of my favourite restaurants, love was tangible and I am immensely thankful!
Today, December with its gloomy sky and the peaceful calm of its mist finally put me in a baking sort of mood. I opened an old recipe journal, but instead of the traditional snowball cookies that kick off the Holiday baking every year, I decided to embrace a new "adventure" and try something different. I rarely make bonbons, much less for Christmas, so I grabbed the idea of no-bake truffles and tried to incorporate what I found in the pantry. Chocolate, cocoa powder, chopped almond and shredded coconut, rolled into not so perfect walnut-sized balls by my humble hands. I put the candies in old glasses, covered the top with fabric and tied it with hemp yarn. I wrote the recipe on a tag and my giving gifts were ready! (find the recipe here).
And if you haven't brought some of the old-fashioned holiday spirit into your life, my simple list of how to be full of it goes pretty much like this:
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